“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A twenty billion dollar turkey comes to Iraq.

Combat, With Limits, Looms for Hybrid Aircraft

By LESLIE WAYNE, New York Times
Published: April 14, 2007
The Marine Corps said yesterday that the V-22 Osprey, a hybrid aircraft with a troubled past, will be sent to Iraq this September, where it will see combat for the first time.

But because of a checkered safety record in test flights, the V-22 will be kept on a short leash.

The Pentagon has placed so many restrictions on how it can be used in combat that the plane — which is able to drop troops into battle like a helicopter and then speed away from danger like an airplane — could have difficulty fulfilling the Marines’ longstanding mission for it.

In Iraq, the V-22 will begin to replace the Vietnam-era helicopters that are increasingly facing enemy fire. The limitations on the V-22, which cost $80 million apiece, mean it cannot evade enemy fire with the same maneuvers and sharp turns used by helicopter pilots.

As a result, the craft could be more vulnerable to attack, and may result in the Marines keeping it out of the thick of battle, using it instead for less dangerous tasks.

“They will plan their missions in Iraq to avoid it getting into areas where there are serious threats,” said Thomas Christie, the Pentagon’s director of operations, test and evaluation from 2001 to 2005, who is now retired. The V-22’s debut in combatends a remarkable 25-year struggle for the Marines to build a craft they could call their own.

In announcing the Iraq deployment yesterday, Gen. James T. Conway, the Marine Corps’ commandant, referred to those efforts as “a road marked by some setbacks, lots of sacrifices and the success of these Marines standing before you.”

The V-22 has been the Marines’ top priority — the Pentagon has spent $20 billion so far and has budgeted $54.6 billion for it. The money has bought a craft that is half-helicopter, half-airplane and whose speed, say the Marines, will save lives.

But the V-22 has also suffered some of the deadliest test crashes in Marine history. It has claimed 30 lives, 26 of them marines, in three test flight crashes. A fourth V-22 crashed, but there were no deaths then. Many more have been damaged in lesser incidents involving fires, stalled engines and software glitches.

Critics say the V-22’s unusual design can create deadly problems that the Marines have minimized in their single-minded pursuit of the craft.

“It’s like a bad poker hand, and the Marines have been investing in it for 20 years,” said Philip Coyle, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester from 1994 to 2001. “They might have been better if they invested in brand new helicopters.”
more here


  1. Stop the mad Whit and his infinite threads!
    (can't you just add them to the same post?)

  2. Threads from 30 minutes ago are now in the archives!
    Friday's Dennis Miller Mp3 has 90 yr old Kirk Douglas!
    ...and an amazing Ode to Roberto Clemente.

  3. The history of this bird reads like that of W in Iraq:
    "Stay the Course"
    (even after you have to bury the phrase)

  4. Ahhhh...grrrrr. here we go. They are going to play that AIRHEAD like a fine fiddle.

  5. Principal Shown Having Sex With Teacher On Video

    (CBS) LYNWOOD, Ill. Just feet from where standardized tests lie on a desk, a video shows the Sandridge Elementary School principal having sex with a teacher in his office on that desk.

    Principal Leroy Coleman and teacher Janet Lofton resigned Thursday after the footage emerged showing them having sex in Coleman's office at Sandridge Elementary School. District 172 officials said Coleman cited health reasons, and Lofton resigned "due to the illness of a family member.”

    John Izzo, an attorney for the school district, said teacher's aide Anjayla Reed resigned after she was contacted about allegations she appears on a separate portion of the tape hugging and touching the principal. She stepped down without giving a reason.

  6. The biggest loser in the Imus affair is the coach:
    After his apology she states:
    We'll NEVER forget it.
    Having taught the girls how to do tour on the
    Ophra Victimology Show.

  7. Bobal,
    Biggest loser in the History of US Politics:

  8. Revenge:
    As CBS 2's Rob Johnson reports, the video was sent to parents and CBS 2 from an anonymous source, postmarked April 10 from Flossmoor, with no return address. A typed note on the DVD reads "Sandridge District 172 principal makes porn in school office with staff members during school hours,” and then lists the principal and two teachers.

    The DVD goes on for two hours and includes footage of several rendezvous on four days from December through January, according to the date stamp. Reed appears on the video as well, hugging and touching Coleman.

  9. Most of the larger helicopter airframes currently in service were flying before the Beatles recorded "Let it Be".

    Whether or not the Osprey is the best possible replacement for the CH-53s and other birds remains to be seen, but bringing military hardware from the drawing board to the battlefield is never done easily, or on the cheap.

    AT LEAST this particular aircraft is making out to the fight, albeit in a restricted role; Wet Noodle money pits like the comanche helicopter and crusader artillery piece (which yes, I mention incessantly n milblog posts, sorry!) never made it out of the concept stage, despite billions invested.

    Vertical take-off/landing craft are critical to ground forces fighting insurgencies and conducting low intensity conflicts (or more euphemistically, "stability operations"); I wll watch the Osprey carefully, as it gradually assumes a greater role in the conflict, before I condemn it as a white elephant along the lines of the Sergeant York.

  10. I have a personal friend, a superb engineer, who left Boeing Vertol, to start his own helicopter compay. He is a superb engineer and worked on the Osprey. If not for one PA. congressman, Kurt Weldon, there would be no Osprey. It is very very complicated technology, that would be good for commuters and open up many aras for air travel, but it is way too expensive.

    The age of aircraft technology is not a disqualifier, after all the B52, is a 52, because it was designed in 1952.

    The proof of an aircraft is its ability to do the job it was designed for and stay in the air.

    We shall see.

  11. Al Qaeda had a rotten day

    Al Qaeda is an utter failure. Most of their "surge" failed. More importantly, we now see that they can't even try to do anything besides suicide bombings, which proves they are a failure. Al Qaeda can't hold territory. They can't run for office. They can't plant their flag anywhere. Instead they cower in caves and sewers, unable to do anything besides ask civilians to kill civilians. Al Qaeda can't peacefully persuade anyone to follow them, and in fact the Iraqi Sunnis recently turned against them.

    As for the Iraqi Parliament bombing, it mostly failed. The US had intelligence reports before the bombing took place, and increased security. That foiled most of the attack. As an Iraqi at the bombing scene said, AQ bombed a mostly deserted cafeteria. If they had launched the bomb in the assembly hall a few minutes earlier, they could have taken out most of the parliament. Indeed, it was later reported that unexploded explosives were found and detonated in a controlled blast. In summary, Al Qaeda bombed the wrong room, most of its explosives didn't work, and there were leaks from inside their organization.

    It is also important to remember that several ministers of parliament have been arrested and had their houses searched because of being part of terrorist organizations. Large amounts of weapons were found. So it shouldn't be shocking that a terrorist group managed to get something into the parliament.

    This shows how the MSM hates America by always twists the truth to try and say America is the loser. Imagine if the US had tried a raid on a terrorist camp, and most of our weapons didn't work, we hit the wrong part of the camp, word of the attack leaked out in advance, and we missed most of the terrorists. The media would quickly say the raid was a failure, which "proves" that the US has lost the war. Yet when our enemy, Al Qaeda, tries an operation that fails in exactly those ways, the media says it was a success, which "proves" that the US has lost the war. This really just shows that the media and the hate-America crowd can't be trusted.

  12. Desert Rat said
    "Lookin' back on yesterday, while tomorrow smacks ya in the head.

    You are right about one thing, the war I was involved in, the US won.

    Unlike the war you claim.

    Lets take a look..he likes to pull up Cheney quotes from WAY before 9-11-01 to make some useless point about hypocracy, knowing (hopefully) that the political ,geopolitical,and real world undewent a fundamental change on 9-11-01.. Or maybe he's too obtuse to understand that.
    "You are right about one thing, the war I was involved in, the US won."
    So in answering my pick up on his allluding to being involved in the Grenada operation, Grenada has been elevated in his mind to a war.
    Now folks, this is pure propaganda.
    No one, no historian,pundit, or even semi-serious follower of military engagements is gonna classify Grenada as a WAR. That's another insult to those military men and women that fight the tough wars, the long wars,...the real wars. In his own mind, I guess the horrors of Grenada turned him anti-American.
    "Lookin' back on yesterday, while tomorrow smacks ya in the head."

    See first paragragh..he's the one pulling 1999 Cheney quotes to prove points in the post 9-11 world.
    But if it's a refrain we've read once from Desert Rat, it's a refrain we've many a starts with the phrase to his poster target, "NO, it's this way", and then proceeds to hold court on the real word out.
    Now it appears he's done one better with "tomorrow smacks you in the head" .. oracle type stuff, not that we all don't have theories.
    My own, if we pull out can be summed up in the phrases, "bad for the USA"

    Deset Rat and his minions, the barking, pants cuff nipping Doug-pet (chia model available at WalMart), and the woman? with the language of a stevedore are the People for the American Way.

  13. trish said...
    "Stay the Course"

    followed downstream by ...


    let's review anti-war rally tape....reel #2, yep there she is, red banner flying, fist in the air....sing the Internationale

  14. Chia Doug aka Chester the Terrier....see if you can pick him out of the lineup.



    note: Habu, the EB may have thick skin but they do not tolerate ad homineum attacks or personal remarks to our nome de bloggers. Even though they are secreted behind a curtain of any name they wish to be called attacking the nome de blogger is not fair. Even though the nome de blogger could be three or four individuals working in concert but using one common nome de blogger. So please refrain from personal attacks on the one, two, three, or ten people who might be using the nome de blogger.

  15. Rufus: This V-22 isn't going to do much except fly a few fat-assed generals around at first; but, it might really be a powerful weapon down the road. Think 400 mph Huey.

    Think of how many re-enlistment incentive bonuses $30 billion dollars could buy. Even Dick Cheney tried to squash this bird, but was over-ruled by...a Democrat-controlled congress in 1988.

  16. Apologies to all current and former US Marines, with exceptions for ex-Marines like Lee Harvey Oswald and John Murtha for using in the ChiaDougChester mirth-a-minute-thon cartoon a picture that also included a Bullgog. I couldn't find one with a rat deserting a worthy cause.

    I'm currently researching post tramatic stress disorder in veterans of the horrific War in Granada. I think we may have found a link between Grenada and loss of sustainability in an operation that IS a war. Initial research shows that a few Grenadan warriors believe all hostilities should last no longer that their benchmark, otherwise the cold Coors turns to skunk beer when you get back to post.

  17. Competition is always good. One way to avoid these kind of gross cost overruns is for the US military to open the contract bidding to these weapons systems to all contractors, domestic and foreign.

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